Rule number one of freelancing is to always use a contract. There are enough things to worry about when you go into business for yourself, and whether you're covered legally in working with clients shouldn't be one of them. Whether you're just starting out or have been working with a given client for a while, having a good contract is the best way to preserve that relationship, make sure you get paid, and make sure everyone goes home happy. Creating a good freelancing contract doesn't have to be as complicated as you may think. Many people think of contracts as these very long complicated documents full of indecipherable legalese. Not so! A contract can be as simple as you want it to be, and often the simpler the better. There are many good samples online to give you an idea of what a good contract looks like. However, Bonsai makes it easy to create and sign contracts with all the language you need to protect your business and nothing you don't. Here are the 3 things that all freelance contracts should include.
- Scope of Work: what work will you be doing for the client? It's very important to be detailed here. Ambiguity can only hurt you and the client. Not having a clear scope of work is one of the most common reasons why client / freelancer relationships sour and freelancers don't get paid. This is the most important part of your freelance contract, since it sets the foundation for all the others.
- Payment: this is another very important clause that relates directly to the scope of work, and one you probably care alot about! Just like scope of work, the more detail you can provide here the better. Remember, it's not just about how much you're getting paid, but when, how, and what happens if you're paid late. Think through everything that could go wrong and make sure to include it (or let Bonsai do that for you!)
- Intellectual Property: this is another critical part of the contract, and one that's often skipped or ignored because it can be confusing. Regardless of what kind of work you're doing, or who the client is, make sure your IP ownership is spelled out clearly. This means being explicit about who owns the IP at each step in the process. When you begin work on something, copyright belongs to whoever created the work (i.e., you). That means you have two options, you can transfer the work to the client, or allow the client to use your work with a license. The standard does vary across industries and geographies, so talk to other freelancers to see what's best for you.
Now, you can try to create a contract on your own, or you can use Bonsai's bulletproof templates to create an agreement in minutes. We offer contracts for nearly every type of freelance work, from freelance app development and freelance android app design to freelance web development and freelance website design.